This critically acclaimed drama from filmmaker Julie Dash (DAUGHTERS OF THE DUST) takes place in 1942 at a fictitious Hollywood motion picture studio.

1983 | 34 minutes | BW | 16mm/DVD | Order No. 99306


The time is 1942, a year after Pearl Harbor; the place is National Studios, a fictitious Hollywood motion picture studio. Mignon Duprée, a Black woman studio executive who appears to be white and Ester Jeeter, an African American woman who is the singing voice for a white Hollywood star are forced to come to grips with a society that perpetuates false images as status quo. This highly-acclaimed drama by one of the leading African American women directors follows Mignon's dilemma, Ester's struggle and the use of cinema in wartime Hollywood: three illusions in conflict with reality.

From the director of the critically acclaimed DAUGHTERS OF THE DUST.


"Mckee’s strong performance and growing awareness throughout the film makes it both dramatically satisfying and also richly nuanced with issues of cultural appropriation and cooptation of black music and culture for commercial gain… The film’s relevance to some of today’s mainstream film and music industries and the dismissal and appropriation of black stories is also telling."


“Illusion beats with a strong feminist heart: in the film Mignon Dupree learns to reject the Hollywood model but also to create her own.”

Anne Christine D’Adesky The Guardian

"One of the most brilliant achievements in style and concept in recent American filmmaking..."

Clyde Taylor Guest Curator Whitney Museum of Art

"Cleverly uses film itself as a metaphor for the myths fostered by whites and men about Blacks and women."

Marcia Pally Village Voice


  • Maysles Cinema


Julie Dash

Julie Dash is the recent recipient of the Special Award at the 82nd New York Film Critics Circle.

Twenty-seven years ago, filmmaker Julie Dash broke through racial and gender boundaries with her Sundance award-winning film (Best Cinematography) Daughters of the Dust, and she became the first African American woman to have a wide theatrical release of her feature film. In 2004, The Library of Congress placed Daughters of the Dust in the National Film Registry where it joins a select group of American films preserved and protected as national treasures by the Librarian of Congress.

Dash has written and directed for CBS, BET, ENCORE STARZ, SHOWTIME, MTV Movies, HBO, and episodes of Queen Sugar for OWN Television. She directed the NAACP Image Award winning, Emmy and DGA nominated, The Rosa Parks Story, Incognito, Funny Valentines, Love Song, and Subway Stories.

She earned her MFA in Film & Television production at UCLA; received her BA in Film Production from CCNY, and she was a Producing and Writing Conservatory Fellow at AFI.

Julie Dash is currently the Distinguished Professor of Art & Visual Culture at Spelman College. (07/19)


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